Lagos Danfo Valentine

Lagos Danfo Valentine cover design

The year was 2014
And Valentine’s Day incidentally fell on a working day of the week
“Not a big deal…” I said to myself
And consoled myself with the fact that all the necessary things were solidly in place
A sweetheart who looked like my kind of model
Just the perfect height for me
Trim in the right places
And provocatively curvy in all the places I was sensually crazy about
An oval face that played host to lips I could have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not complain
And eyes that never failed to light me up

Everything looked sweet and tight
But this day was not about my Valentine’s Day
Oh no!
It was one that I witnessed on my way home from work

This was not a movie as there were no actors
Or technical crew
But there was a stage
And this stage was Maryland; a major district on the Lagos mainland
Situated in Ikeja to be precise

I wasn’t driving
So I stood at the bus stop like every other commuter in view
The only visible difference was that I was more mentally and physically ready to board the next available commercial bus that had Opebi-Allen as its destination

My eyes were not darting here and there
Like a pickpocket with a familiar hunch that the day was a bad one
But my sight stayed trained on the direction from which the bus would emerge

I was very vigilant
And had my power of observation tuned to a very high frequency
I stood as if I had springs right beneath my heels
It was the way I moved whenever I had to engage in an activity that called for moving fast on my feet
And so I waited
Stood on the look-out for the next vehicle
The clock ticking away
75% of those around me as impatient as a starving man served a hot plate of ‘dodo’

And then the bus came into view
Though it was at quite a distance
I did what usually did whenever I found myself in such a situation
I focused on the conductor who was hanging by the door of the commercial bus
With a large portion of his body hanging outside the bus
As he deftly positioned himself by the door
I took one more in-depth look at the conductor
And I read his lips

I couldn’t hear him
But I could see him
And that was all I needed

In a space of three seconds
I got what I needed
He was going my way – Opebi Allen

When I stepped away from the spot where the rest of the commuters occupied
Some of them cast a quick glance at me
But looked away as quickly as they had looked in my direction
I was not acting sensibly in the estimation of most of them
But ironically,
By then time the bus grounded to a halt at the bus stop
I was already sitting comfortable inside the yellow and black ‘danfo’

I watched the commuters as they almost climbed over one another
All in a desperate attempt to secure a seat in the bus

“Madam! Please behave yourself…” I heard a young man say
“Abeg comot for road if you no wan enter,” the woman fired back
Not done with the altercation, the young man sweating like a skipping boxer replied
“It’s not your fault. I don’t blame you at all. I don’t blame you!”

What I found even more ridiculous was that at the end of the rush for space in the bus
The bus was not even half full
By implication
Even if they had queued to get into the bus
There would apparently have been enough space for everyone

My relief at eventually getting a bus to convey me to Allen was short-lived when the driver slowly craned his neck from the front seat and said:
“Passengers, abeg make una no vex o. I’m not going to Allen anymore
Na Ikeja I wan load…”

I looked straight into his eyes and he wasn’t even smiling
This was not a joke

At first,
The commuters began to grumble
Then they began to curse under their breath
Lines of frustration and anger drawn all over their faces
They were clearly upset
And it wasn’t too hard to see why

As expected
They complained bitterly
Accused the driver of being responsible for half of the nation’s problems
And never ceased lamenting
Even when they could see that the driver’s mind was made up

The driver on his own part
Never ceased apologising to the passengers
He tried his best to make them understand that it wouldn’t be wise for him to load a half filled bus when he could get a fully loaded one by altering his route from Opebi-Allen to Ikeja

At that point
I cast my eyes upon the rest of the commuters still stranded at the bus stop
And realised that the driver was right
I would have done the same in his shoes
In truth
Those still standing at the bus stop could conveniently fill three or four commercial buses

We began to disembark
First, it was the man who had the dramatic face-off with the fat lady
Then the fair-skinned girl with the green T-shirt and short black skirt
The man with the white shirt and blue tie followed
It was time for me to join them
And two others in the bus also dragged themselves out of the vehicle

Just as the lady in the cream-coloured dress stepped out
The driver’s voice must have sounded like an award-winning track to those heading towards Ikeja
“Ikeja! Ikeja! Ikeja…,” he repeated in his husky voice
And before you could say Jupiter
The commuters heading towards Ikeja swarmed the bus like a gang of demented men rushing to penetrate an unconscious woman laying legs spread out wide without clothes

This was precisely the way they would have rushed in but there as a problem
And it was in a human form
I noticed that while those of us who were Allen bound had hopped off the bus
A certain young man had screamed when the driven announced his decision to change his route
“If you like, change your route to Lokoja or Abia, I’m not stepping out of this bus”
Not too many of us had paid him much attention when he expressed his displeasure
But when he remained in the bus even after we all had alighted
I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen
But then I said to myself: “The worst that could possibly happen is that he gets a refund from the driver.”

I cast my mind away from the displeased passenger and the route-changing driver
And concentrated on getting another bus to convey me to Allen
But 5 minutes later
My attention was drawn back into the drama that was unfolding right before my eyes
The disgruntled passenger refused to give in to the driver’s request to alight from the bus since his route had changed
He remained adamant on being driven to his destination, which in this case happened to be Allen
After 10 minutes, some of the fresh passengers who had their minds on Ikeja began to exit the bus
Others continued to appeal to the young man who wanted to be driven to Allen at all cost
At a point, every single person in the bus sounded like members of a choir
But repeatedly chorused the same line
“Oga, abeg now….”
“Bros we take God beg you. Come down make the driver dey carry us go…”

The dude just sat there
And refused to budge…

17 thoughts on “Lagos Danfo Valentine” by Simply SAMAD (@SamodBiobaku)

    1. @shovey, thanks for the comment. Lagos is always filled with drama but this is just the first part of the story. I cut it into two parts because of the length. There’s a concluding part to the story. I think you’ll really like it. Thanks again.

  1. Sincerely, I skipped a greater part of the piece. And I have a question to ask–a further question, maybe: is this a poem? If its not, then, why is the piece bereft of almost all appropriate punctuation marks?

    1. @namdi, though I read all of it, I agree with you. Lack of punctuation and arrangement of sentences made this a struggle to read @samodbiobaku. However it was descriptive and funny, I wonder about the young bobo sha lol

      1. @aplusn – I apologise for the inconvenience that came with reading this but juat like I just said to @namdi, the story has a feel of a work of prose because of its power of description but as a matter of fact, it is narrative poetry. It is the hybrid style that defines my creative writing – a fine blend between prose and poetry. I found myself sacrificing the form of prose for writing in verses but it is what works for me despite knowing all my punctuations. I sometimes write for the media where I adhere to the rules of prose but here, you’ll have to bear with me; narrative poetry. They usually look better on Microsoft Word pages where I am able to centralise the text and make it look like te narrative poetry that it really is but here, I could not centralise the text. Thanks for the comment and sincere observations @aplusn. I really appreciate the words.

        1. @samodbiobaku, I understand your concept now after that explanation. Without it we just assume it’s an oversight and offered the critical review.
          Ps, I believe I’ve seen a toolbar for centralisation and other editing controls while writing drafts.
          You have a vivid imagination and hope to see more of your stories.
          Have a good one, Dee.

          1. @aplusn – Thanks yet again for reaching out with a prompt feedbak. I will look into your suggestion as per the toolbar and how to achieve centralising the text. Thanks for the warm comments and compliment. It goes a long way in ensuring I keep flames of creativity burning. Catch ya in the next installment of ‘Lagos Danfo Valentine.’

    2. @namdi – Your observations are real and quite true but give me a chance to set the records straight. First, it is not a prose, which explains the punctuation. All of my works; with a few exceptions are narrative poetry but I had a problem centralising the text here given the layout format of the website. When I write prose, I do understand the rules and I really know my punctuations o. *giggles* …even the use of elipses, semi colons and the entire collection of punctiation marks – Trust me on that. I wish you hadn’t skipped reading a major part of the story sha but tou did. *smiles* It’s all good though but there is a concluding part to this story. I could not post the whole thing because of the rules here. So, the concluding part will be posted soon. Thanks for dropping by with the comment @namdi.

  2. Hmmm… I don’t wanna say I’m disappointed because your title drew me in I was expecting so much more. First it took you such a long time to get into the actual story but then again, an actual story wasn’t even there.

    This was my favorite part,
    “Just the perfect height for me
    Trim in the right places
    And provocatively curvy in all the places I was sensually crazy about
    An oval face that played host to lips I could have for breakfast, lunch and dinner and not complain
    And eyes that never failed to light me up”

    You wrote all.that so.well and after that whole description ended I got super excited but then nothing happened afterwards.

    You have to learn to not lose us right after you’ve caught our attention. Rewrite please. :-)

    1. @ufuomaotebele – Awwww… Thanks a lot for the comment and feedback.
      I’m glad you really liked the title and I kinda decided to go slow on this one. First, I must tell you that there is a concluding part to this story. I cut the story into two parts becuase of the rules of writing here. If I had posted the whole thing, I’m not sure if it would have been approved for posting. When you read the concluding part of this, you will understand what I mean and by then, there would be no need for a re-write.
      I just re-read your favourite part and I think I have a very good idea of what you really want from my writing. I have some stories that would give you a sugar-rush in that regard; no kidding o.
      One of my biggest critics, after reading this said and I quote: “Samad, good story but you are not at your best on this one. I have seen what your stories are capable of achieving and I believe you kind of held back on this one…” So, @ufuomaotebele, kindly bear with me on this one. There are bigger and better things in my bag of tales. Thanks for the comment.

  3. I agree. you left us hanging way too early and still we don’t know the direction it’s taking although I though it was quite funny.
    Do well to redeem youself in subsequent installment.

    1. @kingobozy – Thanks champ. Wait till you read the concluding half of the story. That’s where all the fun part of the story is buried. I could not post it all at once so I decided to push this out first. I’ll send in the concluding part for approval soon. Sorry I left you hanging sha. It was not intended but good to know you enjoyed this first part all the same. Catch ya on the concluding part and wishing you an amazing week ahead.

  4. I agree. you left us hanging way too early and still we don’t know the direction it’s taking although I thought it was quite funny.
    Do well to redeem youself in subsequent installment.

  5. this was hilarious. I read it early in the morning and was chuckling to myself while everyone else was still asleep. However, I see no bearing to the title, and as some people have pointed out, it was outlaid more like a poem than a short story.

    1. @folakemi -The best is yet to come o. There’s a concluding part to this tale. Folakemi, I believe it must have crossed your mind why I would end a story with so much hanging in a balance. I could not post the whole story at once given the rules of posting here so I cut the story into two parts. The concluding part puts everything in proper perspective. You’ll understand soon enough when I get approval for the concluding half of this. Meanwhile, it is narrative poetry. It’s what I do – I narrate stories in verse form but with all the details and conversations that come with prose. I have a feeling you will enjoy the concluding part but @folakemi, what if I told you tou are not reading me at my best? You’ll soon understand when I eventually decide to post one of the epics in my bag of narratives. Wishing you a splendid week ahead Kemi.

  6. Good stuff but I have a few questions:
    What is the point of the story? I mean, its content s countered the title.

    Is it prose or poetry?

    It seemed a bit flowery to me. Like you tried to over-impress.

    Got a bit ‘draggy’.


    1. @ezeakwukwo – Thanks for the comment. Your first question and point in focus has it’s answers in the concluding oart of this story. I had great fears of not getting approval to post the entire thing at once so I split it into two parts. I will be requesting approval to post the second/concluding part of this story soon.
      As for its form, it is narrative poetry but I always ensure i pump life into thw storiws with conversations and the drama that usually comes with prose.

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